In her book "Daring Greatly" (2012), Brené Brown, professor and researcher at the Graduate College of Social Work at the University of Houston defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. Her research shows that accepting vulnerability in ourselves and others makes us more creative. It connects us to passion and a sense of purpose, paradoxically making us stronger, with greater resources to face adversity and able to generate solutions.

Let’s take the example of professional coaching. Making the decision to have coaching means having the courage to embrace your vulnerability. It is noticeable that the greater the courage of the person seeking support, the greater their transformation will be. Indeed, coaching is about committing to facing up to the truth. This is what generates the transformative and creative energy that helps the person being coached find their own answers to problems they have identified and that they were previously unable to find on their own.

Let’s look at this subject in the context of the pandemic which is currently raging in the world. In recent months, this health crisis has plunged countries, governments, organisations, businesses and populations into a state of uncertainty characterised by huge vulnerability. The energy this vulnerability has generated and the emotions it has aroused has affected people and allowed them to evolve to a higher level of consciousness.

How each of them overcomes this ordeal both individually and collectively stems from the transformational potential inherent in the trials and tribulations of life.

So, how can this vulnerability on a daily basis be characterised in real terms and how can it be useful? How can you cultivate a more vulnerable leadership style within a company? How can vulnerability manifest itself in our personal lives? Here are some key things to think about...

Be aware of your limits and accept them

In complex and uncertain times ('VUCA' world) that demand constant learning and agility, the most capable and adaptable managers are those who are aware of their limitations, who have the necessary humility to develop their own potential and that of others. They are brave enough to recognise that they are not perfect and are open to creating sincere and open-minded relationships with others.

Embrace the truth

To embrace the truth is to create a climate and a space for your team for inclusive expression, with the psychological security that fosters discussion and constructive criticism. In fact it means welcoming criticism as an unavoidable and necessary step towards progress ... It means being more interested in understanding reality than in being right and not being afraid to recognise possible mistakes. Embracing truth also means sharing your own truth honestly, sharing what you know but also daring to say when you don't know.

Daring to ask for help

Leadership is not about being heroic, rather it is about harnessing the strengths and uniqueness of each team member so that they complement each other to form a stronger collective. It means being honest about your weaknesses and your own need for support. Showing this authenticity strengthens the team's commitment to the leader and the collective. It also frees up everyone’s ideas and energy to meet the challenges that arise.

Embrace who you are

To embrace who you are, as Brené Brown so rightly says, is to let go of the person you think you’re supposed to be... It also allows your colleagues and teams feel at ease. How can you do this? By showing your strengths and the areas where there is room for improvement, in a transparent way without trying to appear perfect and above all without trying to be someone else. Being authentic, accepting who you really are, takes courage, in fact it makes you more human and helps create an alliance with others so you establish trust. By doing so, a virtuous circle is created: those around you are encouraged to do the same, to be true to themselves and commit themselves to the service of a common goal rather than being focused on their personal image...

In the end, embracing your vulnerability is not…

about hiding behind a mask or presenting an artificial front in which you are an indestructible superman or superwoman because this is an illusion that might fool you, but certainly won’t fool others…

It’s more about…

reconnecting with your true essence, connecting with your creativity, being at one with your energy to get moving, then spreading this state of being to others... It’s about conquering your own truth to inspire others to do the same and taking care to support each other along the way!

Finally, as Brené Brown puts it so well, embracing your vulnerability in your personal life means for example:

- trying things without any guarantee of success,
- daring to be the first to say “I love you”,
- putting your heart and soul into a relationship without knowing whether or not it will work out

But it’s also:

- practising joy and gratitude in difficult times, being grateful for feeling vulnerable because that means you are alive...

I invite you to take the time to listen to this fabulous TedX by Brené Brown on the power of vulnerability:

For all requests for coaching support, contact Elizabeth Toucas on or by email at

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